Geogenic fluoride ion (F) contamination of groundwater has drawn worldwide attention due to its considerable impact on human health. In this study, the relationships between groundwater F levels, collected in the rainy and dry seasons from 16 rural areas in Khartoum state, Sudan, and the schooling performances of 775 primary school pupils, 315 boys and 460 girls, in 27 schools in these areas, were analyzed using the SPSS. The schooling performances were measured as the average score (%) [(100×average mark)÷total mark] and the high score prevalence (%) [(100×no of students scoring>70%)÷total no of students] for each of 8 subjects (Islamic studies I and II, Arabic, English, mathematics, sciences, history, and technology) and the overall score. The F level was found to be significantly negatively correlated with the average scores for 5 of the 8 subjects (range: r= –0.46, p<0.05 to r= –0.59, p<0.01), with the high score prevalences for 6 of the 8 subjects (range: r= –0.39, p<0.05 to r= –0.60, p<0.01), and with the overall score for both the average score (r= –0.51, p<0.01) and the high score prevalence (r= –0.48, p<0.05). On the basis of these results, we conclude that there may be an inverse relationship between the F level in drinking water and the schooling performance.
The relationship between the fluoride levels in drinking water and the schooling performance of children in rural areas of Khartoum State, Sudan. Considering the results of the Tables 4–7, which were found to be related to each other, significant correlations undoubtedly exit between the drinking water F level and the schooling performances in all the subjects except for one, technology, which might be due to the nature of the subject. Thus, school children exposed to F may have an increased risk of low schooling performance. Taking into account the positive correlation between the schooling performance and IQ as reported in literature, it follows, logically, that the IQ of school children in the studied areas is similarly affected by the drinking water F levels. Thus, it is not only endemic high drinking water F regions that have low IQ 11,14,15 but also areas with F levels within and slightly higher than the WHO recommended range.1